President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday officially launched her re-election campaign team by authorizing hundreds of regional directors in two separate closed-door ceremonies in Taipei.
Tsai authorized more than 500 staff, including Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) campaign directors in the nation’s 23 counties and cities, as well as representatives from various business sectors, who pledged their support for her re-election bid.
Although the media were not permitted to attend the events, attendees said that Tsai called on all campaign staff to be united in the face of an expected tough battle ahead of the Jan. 11 presidential and legislative elections.
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Her administration has launched a series of reforms over the past three years that are part of its efforts to build a solid foundation for the nation’s future, Tsai said in her speeches at the ceremonies, according to attendees.
The job is only halfway done and she needs four more years to finish the job to give Taiwan a brighter future, she said.
The new political parties that have been established in the past few months could affect the elections, she added, referring to the Taiwan Action Party Alliance and the Formosa Alliance, both considered pan-green; Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je’s (柯文哲) Taiwan People’s Party (TPP); and the Taiwan Renewal Party launched by former Tainan county commissioner Su Huan-chih (蘇煥智), who left the DPP in March last year.
The DPP should seek to win a majority in the 113-seat Legislative Yuan and her re-election to safeguard Taiwan’s security and to make sure the nation’s freedom and democracy can continue to prosper, she said.
In the January 2016 elections, Tsai won 6.89 million votes, or 56.12 percent, defeating then-Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), while the DPP won 68 seats in the legislature, giving it a legislative majority for the first time.
Tsai’s campaign manager Lin Hsi-yao (林錫耀) said the president asked her team to focus on the “air war,” meaning focusing more on television advertising and social media.
They also need to pay closer attention to what is circulating on social media, Lin said.
Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu (韓國瑜) is the KMT’s presidential candidate, but Tsai could also face a potential challenger from Ko and tycoon Terry Gou (郭台銘). Sept. 17 is the deadline to register as a presidential candidate.
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